Updated on June 4, 2017
A few more gems from this segment:
- “They mean it in a nice way.”
- “It’s nice to get compliments.”
- “As long as you don’t come within arms length, it’s fine.”
But for many women, catcalls are humiliating and degrading. Some blame themselves, wondering what they could have done differently to prevent it. And the consequences can considerably affect a person’s social behavior and habits, as women report “they avoid eye contact and walking alone in public, or change their outfits or routes to avoid harassment.”
In reality, this is no small problem. According to Stop Street Harassment, “at least 65% of women have experienced catcalls, leers, and unwanted sexual propositions,” disproportionately affecting those with low incomes, women of color, and the LGBTQ community. And while there are federal laws protecting women from workplace harassment, street harassment is addressed on a state-by-state basis.
Let’s bring some voices of reason into this discussion:
Catcalling does not mean you are beautiful, smart, strong or interesting. Catcalling means a stranger values you so little he doesn’t care if he makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened.
Catcalling is about control, not about your cute shorts. It’s an assertion that women are just visitors in a male space, there to be assessed by appearance and summarily dismissed or flirted with.
To legitimize catcalling is to give voice to those who don’t deserve it: the man who told me he wanted to perform oral sex on me, the man who said he wanted it the other way around and the man who said he could have me if he wanted me.
The dehumanizing culture of catcalling must stop, but conservative media outlets like Fox aren’t helping. It’s up to us all to educate ourselves about the harms of harassment, so that women can truly be free in the streets of America.